Dunedin Athenaeum and Mechanics Institute

Recent Books

The Good Daughter (March 2019)

By Karin Slaughter

April 9, 2019

Twenty-eight years ago, Charlotte and Samantha Quinn’s happy smalltown life was torn apart by a terrifying attack on their family home.  It left their mother dead and their father devastated.  And it left the family fractured beyond repair, consumed by secrets from that terrible night.

Twenty-eight years later, Charlie has followed in her father’s footsteps to become a lawyer herself – the archetypal good daughter.  But when violence comes to Pikeville again, Charlie is plunged into a nightmare.  Not only is she the first witness on the scene, but it’s a case which can’t help triggering the terrible memories she’s spent so long trying to suppress.  The shocking truth about the crime which destroyed her family won’t stay buried forever…

The Taking of Annie Thorne (March 2019)

By C. J. Tudor

April 9, 2019


One night, Annie went missing.  Disappeared from her own bed.  There were searches, appeals.  Everyone thought the worst.  And then, miraculously, after forty-eight hours, she came back.  Though she couldn’t, or wouldn’t, say what had happened to her.

But something happened to my sister.  I can’t explain what.  I just know that when she came back, she wasn’t the same.  She wasn’t my Annie.

I didn’t want to admit, even to myself, that sometimes I was scared to death of my own little sister.


The email arrived in my inbox two months ago.  I almost deleted it straight away – but I clicked Open:

I know what happened to your sister.  It’s happening again…

The Binding (February 2019)

By Bridget Collins

February 13, 2019

Imagine you could erase your grief.  Imagine you could forget your pain.  Imagine you could hide a secret.  Forever.

Emmett Farmer is working in the fields when a letter arrives summoning him to begin an apprenticeship.  He will work for a Bookbinder, a vocation that arouses fear, superstition and prejudice – but one neither he nor his parents can afford to refuse.

He will learn to hand-craft beautiful volumes, and within each he will capture something unique and extraordinary: a memory.  If there’s something you want to forget, he can help.  If there’s something you need to erase, he can assist.  Your past will be stored safely in a book and you will never remember your secret, however terrible.

In a vault under his mentor’s workshop, row upon row of books – and memories – are meticulously stored and recorded.

Then one day Emmett makes an astonishing discovery: one of them has his name on it.


The Cry (February 2019)

By Helen Fitzgerald

February 13, 2019

When a baby goes missing on a lonely roadside in Australia, it sets off a police investigation that will become a media sensation and dinner-table talk across the world.

Lies, rumours and guilt snowball, causing the parents, Joanna and Alistair, to slowly turn against each other.

Finally Joanna starts thinking the unthinkable: could the truth be even more terrible than she suspected?  And what will it take to make things right?

The Disciple of Las Vegas (February 2019)

By Ian Hamilton

February 13, 2019

Fifty million dollars has disappeared into thin air from the accounts of one of the richest men in the Philippines, Tommy Ordonez.  His one hope is Ava Lee – sleek, capable forensic accountant and sleuth.  With the help of her Triad-connected partner, Uncle, Ava follows the money trail from San Francisco to Costa Rica to the casinos and illegal gambling dens of Las Vegas.  Meanwhile, a vengeful adversary from Ava’s past has put out a contract on her life, and the shadowy hit man is close at her heels every step of the way.  Will Ava recover the stolen cash without stepping into the crosshairs of a growing list of enemies?  The first book of an electrifying new series, The Disciple of Las Vegas introduces Ava Lee: a deadly martial artist with a taste for luxury and a mind like a steel trap.

Out of the Dark (February 2019)

By Gregg Hurwitz

February 12, 2019

The President

For President Jonathan Bennett, reaching the White House was the realization of a lifetime’s ambition.  He’s leader of the free world and the most powerful man of earth.  But public support for his administration is wearing thin.  And if the terrible truth about his rise to the top was exposed it would bury him.

He will not let that happen.

The Assassin

As a boy, Evan Smoak was taken from his foster home and inducted into a top secret Cold War programme.  Code-named Orphan X, he was trained to become a lethal weapon, then dispatched around the world to do whatever was required to keep his country safe.  When Evan discovered the mission was rotten to the core, he got out using his skills to hide in plain sight while helping those who can’t help themselves.

The Reckoning

But Evan knows about the president’s dark past.  And that’s dangerous knowledge.  To save himself and his country.  Evan must ask himself one simple question: how do you kill the most well-protected man on earth?  And, when he knows you’re coming for him, how do you stay alive long enough to try?  One thing is certain: a desperate call for help from another unfortunate in urgent need of Evan’s protection isn’t going to make it any easier…

The Rumour (February 2019)

By Lesley Kara

February 12, 2019

A casual comment.

There’s a killer among us.

That’s all it takes

She’s stabbed little Robbie Harris.

To change a life –

She’s living under a new name.

For ever.

She’s reformed.  So they say…

Pearly Gates (February 2019) Athenaeum Book Club 2019

By Owen Marshall

February 12, 2019

Pat ‘Pearly’ Gates has achieved a lot in his life and evinces considerable satisfaction in his achievements.  He has a reputation as a former Otago rugby player and believes he would have been an All Black but for sporting injuries.  He runs a successful real-estate agency in a provincial South Island town, of which he is the second-term mayor.  Popular, happily married, well established, he cuts an impressive figure, especially in his own eyes.

But will his pride and complacency come before a fall?

The Silent Patient (February 2019)

By Alex Michaelides

February 12, 2019

‘I love him so totally, completely, sometimes it threatens to overwhelm me.  Sometimes I think … No, I won’t write about that.’


Alicia Berenson writes in her diary as a release, an outlet – and to prove to her beloved husband that everything is fine.  She can’t bear the thought of worrying Gabriel, or causing him pain.

Until, late one evening, Alicia shoots Gabriel five times and then never speaks another word.


Forensic psychotherapist Theo Faber is convinced he can successfully treat Alicia, where all others have failed.  Obsessed with investigating her crime, his discoveries suggest Alicia’s silence goes far deeper than he first thought.

And if she speaks, would he want to hear the truth?

The Quest for Queen Mary (February 2019)

By James Pope-Hennessy

February 12, 2019

Queen Mary, the widow of George V and grandmother of the Queen, died at Marlborough House on 24 March 1953, a few months before the Coronation.  She was eighty-five years old.

Unusually for a Queen consort, an official biography was commissioned.  The task was entrusted to James Pope-Hennessy in 1955, beginning a three-year quest that would take him to many royal courts and to the lunch and tea tables of retired courtiers and Ladies-in-Waiting, along with access to a great number of private documents.

Pope-Hennessy kept extensive notes about the people he met and what he saw, but did not intend for them to be published for fifty years.  Now, royal biographer Hugo Vickers has compiled and edited these royal interviews, introducing the figures and placing them in their context.  The Quest for Queen Mary is a fascinating portrait and, in the words of Pope-Hennessy himself, ‘a not uninteresting study of royal psychology as it was and as it largely remains today’.

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